Turkey reinstates YouTube access after two-year ban

For the past two years, Turkey has cut off access to the popular video sharing website, YouTube. Videos had been uploaded which were received as insulting to the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Now, the ban has been lifted because the offending videos in question had since been removed.

Turkey has been without YouTube since 2008 and has tried working with the site to remove the videos and keep the site within Turkey law. It is a crime in Turkey to insult the country's founders or institutions, so to combat this, YouTube was blocked from the country. YouTube is aware that access to their site has been restored in the country and are investigating the circumstances to make sure the videos were removed in a legitimate way and not simply spoofing YouTube's automated copyright complaint process, according to CNET.

YouTube also sent a statement to Reuters saying the following:

We've received reports that some users in Turkey are once again able to access YouTube...We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process. We are investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright policy.

The ban was widely criticised, even by the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, who used Twitter to disproved the action taken and he asked the institutes responsible for the ban for a solution. The ban came as a result of Turkey's internet law which was first used to restrict access to pornographic and harmful sites to children, but now has been used to prevent access to over 5,000 sites.

Since being lifted, Turkish users may now freely browse YouTube, and there is even more of a push to reform Turkey's internet laws for a more open system.

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22 Comments

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For me Ataturk was (and in a way is) an enemy, not as a person, but wat he represented during the Greek-Turkish war. Still though, I would never say things like those described above for him.

tsitouridis said,
For me Ataturk was (and in a way is) an enemy, not as a person, but wat he represented during the Greek-Turkish war. Still though, I would never say things like those described above for him.

Well, Ataturk believed in the alliance of Turkey and Greece and amazingly they became allies during Ataturk's time. in 1930 Greece and Turkey signed a treaty of friendship. The relationship between the two countries was so good during Ataturk's time that the Greek prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos submitted Ataturk's name in 1934 for Nobel Peace Prize.

For me this is partially true. I think that people must freedom to express their own opinion, but still, they need to do it in a respectfull manner.

tsitouridis said,
For me this is partially true. I think that people must freedom to express their own opinion, but still, they need to do it in a respectfull manner.

Looks like I am commenting your comments all the time. I hope you don't think I am attacking you or something.

The Turkish law that protects Ataturk was made after Ataturk died. The idea is, you can criticize Ataturk but you cannot insult him.

The events that led to banning Youtube in Turkey was caused by a bunch of Turkish and Greek idiots (yes in my opinion both sides were being idiots in this particular case) started posting videos against each other. That is when some Greek guys started posting videos claiming that Ataturk was gay (I think they were referring to him as f*got) and his mother was a prostitute. A man went to court in Turkey requesting that access to Youtube should be banned. Turkey requested from Google that the videos should be removed. Google failed to do so in a timely fashion and the court agreed to ban access to Youtube from Turkey.

I never said that. Of course they are not the same and of course the have changed! I simple said, that the fact that there are changes in a country (even dramatic), does not wipe the resposibilities of that country towards others. The fact that Germany is different than the Nazy Germany, it does not mean that Germany should not pay for the WW2 damages.

Of course not. Therefore I said, Turkey assumes full political reliability of Ottoman Empire.

Not only political actually but also financial. Turkey paid the external debt of Ottoman Empire after its collapse.

However, this doesn't make it right to refer to Ottoman Empire as Turkey when you talk about history.

Well you have missunderstood what I said. The differences of Turkey and Ottoman Empire, may be huge but it is still the same country, the citizens are still the same. The ideas still have common base and this is something that changes too little in very very long time. Therefore Kemal may indeed did change TOO many things (personaly I know about alphabet and political stracture), but still Turkey is the continueation of Ottoman Empire and in this context they cannot say, that, genocidis were perfomed by yhr Ottoman Empire and not Turkey.

About Kemal, you find interesting to know what it says in wikipedia. It seems that both of us have deifferent versions and wikipedia offers a third one!

tsitouridis said,
Well you have missunderstood what I said. The differences of Turkey and Ottoman Empire, may be huge but it is still the same country, the citizens are still the same. The ideas still have common base and this is something that changes too little in very very long time. Therefore Kemal may indeed did change TOO many things (personaly I know about alphabet and political stracture), but still Turkey is the continueation of Ottoman Empire and in this context they cannot say, that, genocidis were perfomed by yhr Ottoman Empire and not Turkey.

About Kemal, you find interesting to know what it says in wikipedia. It seems that both of us have deifferent versions and wikipedia offers a third one!


Yehhhh what a great way of thinking.

Germany today is obviously the same as Nazi Germany. Russia today is still the same as the Soviet Union. Japan today is still the same as Japan during WW2.

I do not know if posting videos that insults a significan figure of a country, is reason enough to ban a site, but one more thing that needs to be considered is who was trying to make the insult.

As far as genocides, lets say that Ottoman Empire was Turkey. The change of the name does not change history.... not to mention for ex. that Kemal was in fact Greek, adpacted in very small age.

And in reply to Anastosios, we must keep in mind that Turkey may have done a lot (my family was hunted in 1921), but so WE HAVE, AS WELL, even if the history books do not mention them. Yes I would agree that the USA and some western European countries have also done genocides. History is history we must know it well, but also look into the future. Never forget, but forgive.

Ataturk was born in Selanika in 1881 to a Turkish family. Although Selanika is in Greece today, back then it was just another city of Ottoman Empire.

Ataturk was a Turkish nationalist who was heavily influenced by the French revolution. Therefore he didn't believe in the structure of the Ottoman Empire (religion based race nation didn't count) but dreamed of a secular nation country.

Although the war of independence for Turkey was against Greece, Ataturk was the first one to advocate reinstating Turkish-Greek relationships after the war of independence.

As for Ottoman Empire and Turkey.... Although Turkey assumes full political responsibility of what Ottoman Empire did, you cannot call the transition simply a name change. Actually these two countries share very little. Even the language is totally different. (No Turkish person today would understand Ottoman Turkish unless they specifically study it as a foreign language)

I don't find it very strange that your family was hunted in 1921. In 1921 Greece and Turkey were at war, and Greece was claiming at least 1/3 of Turkish land.

This was a very stupid ban to begin with.

The president was against it, and the prime minister of Turkey advised people to use proxy servers to access the site. He even went ahead to say this was what he was doing.

It is funny that it took 2 years to reinstate access to site.

The laws that protect Ataturk are actually made by the military junta in 1960 and 1980. They are by nature very difficult to change. I mean even proposing to change the law would be interpreted 'I support the fact that people should be able to insult Ataturk and for any MP to support such a law it would political suicide.

Well the government is looking to reform the law to modernise it. And obviously they will need to if they ever want to get in the EU. They aren't as stuck in their ways as some countries, they're willing to change.

External HDD said,
Yeah it was a shame the site was banned because some idiot posted some videos but we knew enough to use DNS...
Huh? You're saying you got around the Turkish internet filters by using alternate DNS servers? Seems like a fairly easy way to get around a filter.

was first used to restrict access to pornographic and harmful sites to children, but now has been used to prevent access to over 5,000 sites.

Ah, the good ol' slippery slope. There's a historic lesson to be learnt here for some other European countries that seem to be heading for a similar path.

Northgrove said,

Ah, the good ol' slippery slope. There's a historic lesson to be learnt here for some other European countries that seem to be heading for a similar path.
Yeah lets hope we learn from our history better.


Some how I doubt it. Seeing as we already have tiered Internet now for phones. Sad!